Harry and Meghan's '˜marvellous' visit to Chichester
Thousands of people turned out to greet Prince Harry and Meghan on their first stop visiting Sussex in Chichester.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex took the time to greet members of the public in West Street before viewing a rare parchment copy of the American Declaration of Independence at Edes House.
To the delight of the waiting crowds, Their Royal Highnesses shook hands with many of those stood waiting at the barriers for a glimpse of the royal couple after arriving just outside Chichester Cathedral by the aptly named Duke and Rye pub.
They were greeted by the Lord Lieutenant of West Sussex, Susan Pyper, and the Mayor of Chichester, Martyn Bell.
Cllr Bell said: “It’s just marvellous that they’ve come to Chichester first, of course.
“I’m just very proud, I’m proud of our city, and very proud of them as I’m sure everybody in Chichester is, it’s marvellous to see the turn out.”
The royal couple appeared delighted at the welcome from residents, some of whom had climbed onto windowsills for a better view, with many cheers of ‘Harry, Harry!’ and Union Jacks lining the street.
Meghan, who was wearing an autumnal shirt and skirt and a Giorgio Armani coat, spent a while shaking hands with Year 6 pupils at Westbourne House School before being presented flowers and an lovingly-made A-Z of Sussex.
The group’s head of year, Charlotte Sleep, said it was ‘fantastic’.
“Harry gave them all high-fives for missing their Latin test today and then gave them a little aside and said ‘remember, education is important’,” she said.
Pupils from Prebendal School also had a chance to speak with the Duke and Duchess.
Twelve-year-old Martha Waddington said: “Oh my gosh, it was amazing, I’m still speechless”. Josh Reidy, also 12, said the occasion was ‘a lot more casual than I thought’.
Young and old had a chance to meet Their Royal Highnesses, with Prince Harry reaching into the crowd to greet people and talking to a mum and her young baby before giving their dog a cuddle.
Before entering Edes House, the royal couple greeted dignitaries the High Sheriff of West Sussex, Caroline Nicholls, West Sussex County Council chairman Lionel Barnard, Chichester District Council chairman Elizabeth Hamilton, Chief Constable of Sussex Police Giles York and Vice Lord Lieutenant of West Sussex Harry Goring.
The Sussex Declaration was laid out in the entrance lobby of the historic building, complete with pictures of the research process undertaken by archivists to verify the document as one of only two ceremonial parchment copies in the world of the American Declaration of Independence.
County archivist, Wendy Walker, explained how the document was discovered at West Sussex Records Office as part of a project from Harvard Scholars and how it had been dated to the 1780s.
Meghan was heard to say, ‘Wow, that’s incredible. What are the chances?’ and was delighted to be handed a facsimile copy of the parchment, adding ‘thank you so much, that’s wonderful’.
Prince Harry asked where the document would be displayed and about how the parchment was unsigned and how it had been verified.
Meghan was then presented with a copy of ‘Roots of America’ edited by Kim Leslie, an anthology of documents relating to American history in the West Sussex Records Office in Chichester.
Prince Harry was given a copy of Military Voices Past and Present, West Sussex Veterans in the 20th century, a product of the county’s history project.
The couple then signed the Edes House guest book before leaving via the back door to greet more crowds waiting outside County Hall.
Their next stop was Bognor Regis, where their Royal Highnesses officially opened the University of Chichester’s £35million tech park.
Pick up your free 8-page souvenir supplement of the Royal Visit in tomorrow’s Chichester, Bognor Regis and Midhurst and Petworth Observer.